Microsoft has announced that Skype for Business Online is to be retired on 31 July 2021. The date is being given now, Microsoft says, to give partners time to move focus from providing Skype for Business Online to that of the functionality within Teams - chat, meetings, and calling - and create migration plans for existing Skype for Business Online customers.
From 1 September 2019, new Office 365 customers will be automatically onboarded by Microsoft to Teams.
Until 31 July 2021, existing Skype for Business Online customers will continue to use the service with no change in experience, including being able to add new users as required.
After 31 July 2021, Skype for Business Online will no longer be accessible.
Please note - Microsoft has stated that Skype Consumer and Skype for Business Server will not be affected.
Microsoft launched Teams in 2017, as a teamwork hub, and an integral part of Office 365. Integrating, chat, video, calling and document collaboration, Teams was created to meet the needs of today’s way of working, and the greater emphasis on teamwork within the workplace.
Since the launch, Microsoft has worked with customers to review and refine features and functionality within Teams, with the company saying, “we now feel we’re at the point that we can confidently recommend it as an upgrade to all Skype for Business Online customers.
Microsoft adds, “Using Teams, companies across the world are becoming more agile, shortening cycle times, improving the efficiency of key workflows, and cutting out unnecessary overhead. Teams isn’t just an upgrade for Skype for Business Online, it’s a powerful tool that opens the door to an entirely new way of doing business.”
Support for migrating customers
Microsoft is releasing plenty of advice, content, and collateral to support partners with migrating customers - including
- A skype for Business Online retirement email template
- An extensive FAQ
- Planning workshop materials
- Technical guidance and planning resources
In addition, Microsoft will be releasing functionality to meet specific requests from existing Skype for Business Online customers. These include enabling customers to define shorter retention periods, and various extended communication features. Full details of these can be found in the Microsoft article, Skype for Business Online to Be Retired in 2021
Justin Tomlin, Business Development Manager
“As of May of this year, Teams is being used by over 500,000 organisations across the globe. It truly meets the demands of the 21st century workplace, and by retiring its market-leading Skype for Business, Microsoft is demonstrating its commitment to Teams, today, and for the future.”